Andrew Mitchell, the United Kingdom’s Minister of State for Development and Africa says he is “optimistic about the future” of the depth and breadth of Rwanda-UK relations, following his four-day visit to the latter.
Mitchell said he had been coming to Rwanda for nearly the past 20 years.
“And every time I come, I see extraordinary progress in every area of life in Rwanda. Over the last two days, I’ve seen how the partnership between Britain and Rwanda is really flourishing and really delivering,” he said in an exclusive interview.
During his visit, the top British legislator graced the launch of two new partnerships that aim at, among others, supporting access to education in Rwanda.
They include the launch of the British Council’s globally renowned Digital Library, as well as the new Girls in Rwanda (programme), a seven-year partnership with UNICEF that focuses on keeping girls in school who are at risk of dropping out and supporting children with disabilities.
“Rwanda and Britain share certain values very strongly between us, I do think that the bilateral relationship is a very strong one. This is a part of the world (Africa) where there have been many difficulties and troubles, in recent months we’ve seen two coups in Africa and the stability that is Rwanda today is a very good example to the region,” he said.
On Saturday, September 2, Mitchell said he had visited and seen the impact of the Kigali Water Treatment plant, a joint venture between British International Investment (BII) and Metito, a global provider of intelligent water management solutions and managing water facilities covering four continents.
“I went this morning to look at the Kigali Water treatment plant, which is supplying water to something like 500,000 people. It’s bringing together British investment through (BII) and enormous technical skills through a brilliant business (Metito) which is providing the expertise and the determination of the Rwanda government to deliver clean water for many of their citizens.”
“I’ve seen real progress on this visit. As I have done on so many other visits before, I hope that this excellent relationship in which I’ve been involved, as I say now for nearly 20 years between Rwanda and Britain is set to thrive and prosper in the months and years ahead.”
Visit to Nyanza Genocide Memorial
Following his visit to the Nyanza Genocide Memorial, Mitchell described his experience as a symbol “in a way of the tremendous progress that has been made since the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.”
“Going to the Nyanza Memorial you see, in stark relief, the terrible legacy from which this country has risen and it is true, the extraordinary progress since those dreadful days.”
“I planted a tree there in memory of the victims And it brings back, very sharply the responsibilities of the international community, which were so gravely let down at that terrible time.”
Reacting to the fresh calls echoed by survivors of either putting on trial or extraditing five suspects who continue to loom in the UK for decades, Mitchell said that his government must resolve the matters “as quick as possible”, despite the fact that it has been going on for “a very long time.”
“I think it is extremely important that these matters are resolved,” he added, “And the course of justice must be followed. We hope very much that it can be done as quickly as possible, but there are certain procedures. It’s been going on for a very long time now. I very much hope that this will be brought to a conclusion one way or the other as swiftly as possible.”
Source : AllAfrica